Does the Bible Forbid Drinking Alcohol
By Joe Palmer
A couple people have asked me if I have reached a conclusion on this topic. I reached a personal conclusion years ago, “I don’t drink.” I have never had a beer. I have tried a little wine in curiosity. After tasting some of these products once I came to a shocking conclusion. It doesn’t taste good. I think you have to acquire a taste for it. The stuff that tastes good is covered up by so much juice and other products to give it a good taste. I decided to drink the good tasting stuff and leave out the alcohol.
That is the problem for some people and defines the issue for some people. They want the alcohol. Many people use alcohol as a pain killer. It masks the pain of divorce, business failure, guilt, abuse, and self doubt. People want the alcohol to fit in, to relax, to unwind after a stressful day. Now if alcohol was harmless then that would be fine but it is not harmless it is very dangerous.
Some won’t be satisfied that God calls it…
a mocker, Proverbs 20:1
a brawler Proverbs 20:1
Unwise Proverbs 20:1
It not enough for some to say that…
the Old Testaments forbid the use of alcoholic wine Proverbs 23:31
Hosea said, “Wine enslaves the heart.” Hosea 4:11 But, some want a prohibition.
I want to share a text with you that some scholars say is a prohibition. Ephesians 5:18 “Do not be drunk with wine, where is excess, but be filled with the Spirit.”
You may immediately note that the text only mentions drunkenness. However, my research has lead me to learn some information about the word drunk.
Drunk, (-en, be), Drunkard, Drunkenness [Verb]
methusko signifies “to make drunk, or to grow drunk” (an inceptive verb, marking the process or the state expressed in methuo), “to become intoxicated,” Luke 12:45; Eph 5:18; 1 Thess 5:7.
Many take “drunk” to mean totally smashed. But when the Bible condemns drunkenness it doesn’t say that one has to be falling down, pulling up the grass and vomiting in the front yard to qualify as drunk.
2. In fact, the Greek word translated “drunk” in Eph. 5: 18 means “to begin to be drunk.” The word is methusko, which is related to the usual word for drunk, which is methuo. The difference between methusko and methuo is subtle but important.
a. Methuo refers to the state or condition of drunkenness.
b. Methusko refers to the action or process that leads to drunkenness. Methusko:
“an inceptive [as in inception or beginning,] verb, marking the process of the state expressed [by methuo]”
Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
“To begin to be softened”
Young’s Analytical Concordance
B1. Drunk, (-en, be), Drunkard, Drunkenness [Adjective]
methusos “drunken” (cp. methusko), is used as noun, in the singular, in 1 Cor 5:11, and in the plural, in 1 Cor 6:10, “drunkard,” “drunkards.”
C1. Drunk, (-en, be), Drunkard, Drunkenness [Noun]
methe “strong drink” (akin to methu, “wine,” see under methuo, above), denotes “drunkenness, habitual intoxication,” Luke_21:34; Rom_13:13; Gal_5:21.
As you can see fromt he above definitions of words, the word in Ephesians 5:18 seems to refer to the process of one getting drunk. One who stays in this state a lot is a drunkard.
The word in Ephesians 5:18 however simply means one who is in the process of becoming softened. Now, all experts agree that you can’t define drunkenness except by degrees. One drink has an effect, which is compounded by two. When one is drunk is subjective based on the definition, and the amount of alcohol it takes to reach the state depends on the individual.
If you want to disregard this let me save you some time. You can find commentators that will simply say the word means drunk or drunkard. As with many things I have read on this topic it seems that the issue is who do you listen to? Often that depends on which side of the issue you want to end up on. I admit I am biased. I don’t want people to drink. Why? I have seen the tremendous amount of harm it causes. I think it is spiritually harming the church.
I personally have tried to avoid overstating my arguments. There is so much confusion on this topic. I will argue strongly that a Christian should not drink. While you can find quarters to defend the idea that God is only condemning the state of drunkenness, I believe there is strong evidence to state that God is here commanding us to stay away from the entire process.
God Bless Your Decision